Warning: This story contains sexual content
You've heard of #RelationshipGoals. Now it's time for #SexGoals.
We set all sorts of goals for the new year, but often they are individual ones rather than the things we'd like to achieve with a partner. No matter where your sex life is at – whether you're single or in a relationship, getting it daily or not at all – being conscious of how you'd like to sexually improve this year is important.
Goal #1: Be more intimate
One of the most common queries we received here at the Sex Files in 2018 is how to re-light a spark that has dimmed when a couple has been together for some time. Of course, you could really commit to "spicing it up" by going head-first into role-playing, five-star hotel sex weekends, toys, and trying new positions.
However, I think the best piece of advice out there is so much simpler. Be more intimate. Cuddle each other more, kiss more, go to the movies and hold hands more. Express yourselves through PDA more. An increase in pure physical touch, with no other objective or motive, is the catalyst for all future sex goals to be achieved.
Goal #2: Understand when foreplay really starts
Foreplay doesn't just mean a few minutes of "getting handsy" before sex actually commences. Foreplay is a set of physical and – crucially – emotional intimate acts for the purpose of heightening arousal.
When you're going on a date, foreplay starts with that first drink. It's a smile, it's listening to the other person instead of just waiting for your opportunity to speak. Foreplay continues into the night as you taste each other's meals, share one dessert with two spoons, and maybe kiss in the street before you have any intention of going home.
When you set out with a goal of making foreplay last as long as possible, the resulting sex at the end of it is just the cherry on top.
Goal #3: Focus on pleasure
For a lot of people, the core reason for having sex is the orgasm. Don't get me wrong, orgasms are fantastic. But they're not everything. Make it a 2019 sex goal to experience as much pleasure as possible during a sex session without focussing on the end.
Sex shouldn't be about ticking a box and going to sleep. Make it about the pleasure of touch, and how prolonged touch with another person creates the chemical oxytocin (aka "the love drug") to emotionally bond you together.
Goal #4: Have sex for stress relief
When you're stressed or anxious, sex might be the last thing you're interested in doing. Yet sex can be implemented like yoga or going for a run to clear your head and should be used specifically for stress relief and relaxation.
The reason is simple: sex gets you out of your head and into your body. When you have dozens of thoughts whizzing around your brain, what you really need is a break to decompress from them, not to immediately mitigate all the problems on your mind. Sex does that.
It gives you a short distraction that improves your mood by boosting serotonin. If you set a goal of having sex when you know you need to relax, you'll probably find it does just as much for you as a Pilates session.
Goal #5: Keep track of your sex life
I'm not suggesting you create a sex diary (but that would be kind of fun, wouldn't it?).
However, many partnered people who eventually find themselves unhappy with their sex lives don't realise so until they are far down the wrong track. If you keep note of when you have sex, and how you felt during and after it, you will create a record of your satisfaction.
Doing this can lead you to feel more positive about your sex life as a whole because you can stop comparing your sex life to that of your peers (and what you think society expects or is "normal") and analyse only with your own personal history.
This makes it easier to nip sexual problems in the bud before they are legitimately concerning because you won't just "forget" to have sex.